Natural gas leak cuts supply to Nav Center, Cornwall sewage plant

A Union Gas truck is parked near the site of a natural gas leak on the property behind the Nav Center and the Cornwall Waste Water Treatment Plant on Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2018. A Union Gas spokesman says a lawnmower struck a gas valve causing a major leak that will take a couple of days to repair. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

CORNWALL – A major natural gas leak has cut off service to the Nav Center and Cornwall’s Waste Water Treatment Plant.

Union Gas spokesman Andrea Stass told Cornwall Newswatch a natural gas valve for a steel feeder line was struck by a lawnmower early this evening, causing the valve to rupture. It happened around 6 p.m.

Loud hissing – about as loud as a small jet engine – could be heard from the broken valve on the northeastern lawn of the Nav Center, behind the wastewater plant.

Cornwall firefighters and conference center security quickly secured the area and were keeping people away who tried to walk along the paved paths at the back of the Montreal Road property.

Stass said workers have to dig up the area and crimp the steel line to stop the flow of gas as a short term measure.

She said it will be “a couple of days” for crews to make repairs to the line.

The pipe only serves the Cornwall Waste Water Treatment Plant at Nav Center, both of which will be offline until the repairs are made.

Both Cornwall firefighters and Union Gas workers are monitoring the area in the subdivision behind the leak (Concorde Avenue) and so far things are okay. Firefighters will also talking with area children, cautioning them to stay away from the area.

Stass told CNW it was an “unfortunately situation” and at this point there is no risk to the general public.

Nav Center General Manager Kim Coe-Turner said the gas line break is not going to affect the facility greatly.

In an interview with Cornwall Newswatch, she says the conference center is fed by two gas lines – the second one is off Montreal Road. “That’s going to keep our residents going with hot water.” The ruptured line affects the kitchen.

“Tonight, we’ve had our food and beverage team gathering and we have contingency plans. Our main kitchen will definitely be affected but we have two separate kitchens…one at the stone house and one servicing the pub and they won’t be affected. We’ll just move our production over to the other areas,” Coe-Turner said.

As for Nav Fit, Coe-Turner says hot water at the fitness center will be affected, but other plans are being put in place, which include notifying clients.

She says the facility is having a “slower week” and not at full occupancy so it’s a “good news, bad news” story. “I don’t see it affecting any of our in-house guests.”

It’s not known how the Cornwall Waste Water Treatment Plant will operate in the interim. A call to a city spokesperson was not returned.